Saul’s Increasing Paranoia
1So David left Gath and took refuge in the cave of Adullam. # Pss 57, 142 titles When David’s brothers and his father’s whole family heard, they went down and joined him there. 2In addition, every man who was desperate, in debt, or discontented rallied around him, and he became their leader. About 400 men were with him. # 1Sm 23:13; 25:13
3From there David went to Mizpeh of Moab where he said to the king of Moab, “Please let my father and mother stay with you until I know what God will do for me.” 4So he left them in the care of the king of Moab, and they stayed with him the whole time David was in the stronghold.
5Then the prophet Gad # 1Ch 21:9; 29:29; 2Ch 29:25 said to David, “Don’t stay in the stronghold. Leave and return to the land of Judah.” So David left and went to the forest of Hereth.
6Saul heard that David and his men had been discovered. At that time Saul was in Gibeah, sitting under the tamarisk tree # Jdg 4:5; 1Sm 14:2 at the high place. His spear was in his hand, and all his servants were standing around him. 7Saul said to his servants, “Listen, men of Benjamin: Is Jesse’s son going to give all of you fields and vineyards? Do you think he’ll make all of you commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds? # 1Sm 8:12 8That’s why all of you have conspired against me! Nobody tells me # Lit No one uncovers my ear when my own son makes a covenant with Jesse’s son. # 1Sm 18:3; 20:16 None of you cares about me # 1Sm 23:21 or tells me # Lit or uncovers my ear that my son has stirred up my own servant to wait in ambush for me, as is the case today.”
9Then Doeg the Edomite, # Ps 52 title who was in charge of Saul’s servants, answered: “I saw Jesse’s son come to Ahimelech son of Ahitub at Nob. # 1Sm 21:1; Ps 52 title 10Ahimelech inquired of the Lord for him # 1Sm 10:22 and gave him provisions. # 1Sm 21:6,9 He also gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.” # 1Sm 21:2-9
Slaughter of the Priests
11The king sent messengers to summon Ahimelech the priest, son of Ahitub, and his father’s whole family, who were priests in Nob. All of them came to the king. 12Then Saul said, “Listen, son of Ahitub! ”
“I’m at your service, # 1Sm 3:4-6; 2Sm 1:7 my lord,” he said.
13Saul asked him, “Why did you and Jesse’s son conspire against me? You gave him bread and a sword and inquired of God for him, so he could rise up against me and wait in ambush, as is the case today.” # 1Sm 22:8
14Ahimelech replied to the king: “Who among all your servants is as faithful as David? # 1Sm 19:4-5 He is the king’s son-in-law, captain of your bodyguard, and honored in your house. 15Was today the first time I inquired of God for him? # 2Sm 5:19,23 Of course not! Please don’t let the king make an accusation against your servant or any of my father’s household, for your servant didn’t have any idea # Lit didn’t know a thing, small or large about all this.”
16But the king said, “You will die, Ahimelech — you and your father’s whole family! ”
17Then the king ordered the guards standing by him, “Turn and kill the priests of the Lord # 2Kg 10:25; 2Ch 12:10 because they sided with David. For they knew he was fleeing, but they didn’t tell me.” # Lit didn’t uncover my ear But the king’s servants would not lift a hand to execute the priests of the Lord.
18So the king said to Doeg, “Go and execute the priests! ” So Doeg the Edomite went and executed the priests himself. On that day, he killed 85 men # 1Sm 2:31 who wore linen ephods. # Ex 28:4; 1Sm 2:28 19He also struck down Nob, the city of the priests, with the sword — both men and women, children and infants, oxen, donkeys, and sheep. # 1Sm 2:18
20However, one of the sons of Ahimelech son of Ahitub escaped. His name was Abiathar, # 1Sm 23:9; 30:7; 2Sm 2:1; 1Kg 2:26-27 and he fled to David. # 1Sm 2:33 21Abiathar told David that Saul had killed the priests of the Lord. 22Then David said to Abiathar, “I knew that Doeg the Edomite # 1Sm 21:7 was there that day and that he was sure to report to Saul. I myself am responsible for # LXX, Syr, Vg; MT reads I myself turn in the lives of everyone in your father’s family. 23Stay with me. Don’t be afraid, for the one who wants to take my life wants to take your life. # 1Kg 2:26 You will be safe with me.”